Eastern Shore Food Lab

Food Access and Equity Initiative

Despite the abundance of farmers markets and fresh foods on the Eastern shore, not all communities have access to fresh and healthy food.

Through social-, economic-, and transportation-related barriers, families of a low socio-economic status have limited availability to fresh and healthy options. To address this issue, the Eastern Shore Food lab intends to promote Farmers’ Market voucher programs and increase transit equality on the Eastern Shore.

Vision

Low income families receive monthly vouchers to spend at the local farmers market, funded by private donors or grant funding. This money brings healthy foods into their household and economically supports local farmers. An easy to navigate, affordable, and accessible system of public transportation  allows individuals without cars to easily access fresh and healthy food. Neighbors organize and come together to carpool, and bus routes improve to serve all communities.

Long-term Goals

  • Create a system of farmers markets vouchers and distribute them to low income communities.
  • Ensure the ESFL’s Community-Supported Kitchen and Farmers’ Market vendors accept EBT/SNAP  
  • Collaborate with Kent County and Delmarva community transit to ensure consistent, affordable, and reliable transit between rural homes and the grocery stores/farmers markets.
  • Create a network of those who do not have cars and those who are willing to carpool to facilitate ridesharing and communication between these groups.

First Steps

  • Contact food systems coordinators in other communities (connections in Pittsburgh) to understand how they successfully implemented farmers market voucher programs
  • Research current availability of using EBT/SNAP benefits at Chestertown Farmer’s Market
  • Research current public transportation routes in Kent County
  • Research food insecurity, poverty, and malnourishment in Kent County